Sentencing Guidelines for Northern Ireland
The Applicability of Guidance from the Sentencing Guidelines Council
The correct approach to the applicability in this jurisdiction of guidance provided by the Sentencing Guidelines Council has been set out by the Court of Appeal in Attorney General's Reference (Number 1 of 2008) Gibbons et al.  NICA 41 at paragraph 44:
‘As we have repeatedly made clear, the guidance provided by the Sentencing Guidelines Council must always be regarded as secondary to the guidelines provided by the Court of Appeal in this jurisdiction. There will be occasions where the guidelines accord with local experience in which case they may be followed but there will also be occasions where they should not be applied.’
And also in R v. Devine  NICA 11 at paragraph 14:
‘On occasions in the past this court has adopted recommendations made by the [Sentencing Guidelines] council (see, for instance, in the field of sexual offences AG’s reference (No 2 of 2004)  NICA 15) but we have also declined to follow the approach of the council in other areas such as whether there should be a reduction of the discount for a plea of guilty where the defendant has been caught red-handed – see R v Pollock  NICA 43. Recommendations of the council will be applied in this jurisdiction where they are appropriate to locally encountered conditions; where they do not they will not be followed.’
Presentation by His Honour Judge Burgess, Recorder of Belfast, Presiding County Court Judge at the Journey to Justice conference in Belfast January 2011. Click on the link to view the Paper by Recorder of Belfast on sentencing in Domestic Violence
Presentation by Mr Justice Hart. Click on the above link to view the paper.
Sentencing Guidance Note on Honour-based crimes
Note for the assistance of Sentencers approved by the Sentencing Group.